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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  March 4, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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>> cbs evening news with katie couric is next. >> couric: tonight anted. the ring starts picking up as the unemployment rate falls to the lowest level in nearly two years. i'm katie couric. also tonight, a day of prayers, protests, and more deadly violence in libya. as qaddafi's forces battle the rebels in several key cities, u.s. aid arrives in tunisia for refugees fleeing the violence. the tragic death of a star high school athlete just moments after he leads his team to victory. and they call this the most dangerous eight seconds in sports. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with
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katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. president obama is keeping his exuberance in check over today's news about unemployment. he calls it progress. the unemployment rate-- 9% or higher for a record 21 months-- has finally dropped below that mark, falling last month to 8.9%. and the pace of hiring is picking up. the economy added 192,000 jobs. anthony mason is our senior business correspondent. anthony, the recession has been officially over for months now. finally it looks like the job market is catching up. >> reporter: after months of disappointingly weak numbers, katie, the labor market is finally flexing some muscle. in wisconsin this week, the oshkosh corporation was hiring 750 workers to make military vehicles. >> it's really a nice opportunity to put some people to work in some high-paying jobs. >> reporter: while the government laid off 30,000 workers, american businesses added 222,000 jobs in february.
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are these the kind of break through job numbers we've been waiting? >> i think so. >> reporter: economist michael darda. >> this is encouraging if it can be sustained. the key is there are a lot of other labor market indicators are that are telling us a real turn is afoot. >> reporter: the number of people filing first-time unemployment claims has been falling steadily and is now at its lowest level since july, 2008. among all industries, 68% are hiring. that's the broadest range in more than 22 years. >> we're hiring here. >> reporter: at pennsylvania- based almac clinical technologies, which helps pharmaceutical companies conduct drug trials, president jim murphy has more than 40 openings, but he's having trouble filling those highly skilled jobs. >> for a certain skill set, the unemployment rate is extremely low. >> reporter: in fact, for workers with a bachelor's degree or higher, the unemployment rate is just 4.3%. at bison gear and engineering in st. charles, illinois, ron
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bullock is also struggling to find qualified workers. >> we've gone up to a year and a half filling an engineering position. >> reporter: manufacturing, health care, even the construction industry added jobs in february. but nine states still have double-digit unemployment, led by california and florida at 12% and above, and nevada at nearly 15%. in all, 13.7 million americans are still out of work. >> so even if we're getting these strong monthly numbers, it's still a three- to six-year horizon back to full employment simply because of the depth of the hole that we're coming out of. >> reporter: economists caution that last month's job gains may have been affected by the weather. january's snowstorms may have pushed hiring into february and inflated the numbers somewhat. katie? >> couric: anthony, how worried are economists about rising oil and gas prices and the impact they may have on the recovery? >> well, it does have them concerned because since the tunisian revolution kicked off the unrest across the middle
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east, crude has jumped almost $13 a barrel to $104 and gas in the u.s. has jumped almost 40 cents a gallon. that's certainly pinching people in the wallet, but economists say it's not enough to derail a recovery. you'd have to see oil double in price for that to happen. you know, that's not impossible, but it's highly unlikely at this point. >> couric: all right. anthony mason. anthony, thank you. now turning to libya and some of the fiercest battles yet as moammar qaddafi struck back today at the opposition. in tripoli, his forces quickly put down protests following friday prayers using tear gas and bullets. the state-owned phone company sent text messages calling on libyans to attack foreigners. and all internet service was cut. across the border in tunisia, the humanitarian crisis finally began to ease. two u.s. military planes delivered blankets and other supplies to foreign workers who had fled the fighting in libya. plans are being made to fly some of them to their home countries tomorrow.
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in eastern libya, a battle raged all day as opposition forces tried to capture a key oil town and qaddafi's air force bombed benghazi. mandy clark begins our coverage from rebel-held territory. >> reporter: qaddafi's warplanes made a bold strike at benghazi, the biggest city in the rebel- held east. two weapons depots were hit. further west today, the rebels were rushing to consolidate their recent gains. today's target: the town of ras lanuf, with its crucial oil shipping terminal. at times, the untrained militia were showing the strain of its ongoing battle with government forces. trucks were tearing down the road to the front as ambulances raced back and forth to bring the wounded out. this doctor was injured as he worked with a medical team. he told us that helicopters were bringing in mercenaries to fight
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the government. there were chaotic scenes here just a few moments ago. we heard a plane buzz by overhead, and all the rebel forces who were bunched up on the road spread out into the desert. and now there is heavy shelling happening just down the road. for a while, the assault was taking place in a fierce sandstorm that the rebels hoped would hide their front line out in the desert from qaddafi's warplanes. do you think the rebels are going to win? >> we believe that the hearts are more power than... they have more power than weapons. >> reporter: on this day, that may have been true. this is the remnants of the fight: a battle-scarred road as qaddafi's army retreats. tonight the rebels claim they seized ras lanuf. mandy clark, cbs news, al brega, libya. >> couric: in western libya, forces loyal to qaddafi tried again today to retake a town outside tripoli and attacked protesters inside the capital as well. harry smith is in tripoli
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tonight. harry, i know this was the crackdown everyone was dreading. >> reporter: i'll tell you what, katie, last friday was a bloody and deadly day for pro-democracy demonstrators here in tripoli. and today everyone was wondering what would happen after midday prayers? at a mosque near green square, men prayed today, perhaps for their friends and loved ones who were beaten and shot just a week ago by moammar qaddafi's security forces. as prayers were about to end, about 150 pro-qaddafi supporters marched to the mosque shouting "allah, qaddafi, libya." as some worshipers tried to slide quietly away, a man whispered to me, "please tell the truth." one man who came out of the mosque said "we expected this. we know they've all been paid." i said "can you talk to us?", and he said "no, everyone here is afraid." as more worshipers came outside, they shouted "freedom, freedom."
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they didn't get far. they were shoved and kicked back into the mosque and locked inside. it wasn't until the local cops fired some shots into the air and that kind of broke things up, but this is turning into an angry mob and we're going to move back this way. on the outskirts of tripoli theajura, prayers ended with a protest. soon more than a thousand were chanting for change. it didn't take long, though, for the tear gas to come and for the rocks to fly. a man lit fire to qaddafi's little green book, an act of treason. freedom of speech, freedom of assembly? not in libya. 20 miles lest of tripoli in zawiyah, rebel forces did their best to hold off a major assault from qaddafi's army. alex crawford of sky news is there at the hospital.
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>> reporter: and on libyan state t.v. tonight, no word of the unrest, just live coverage of the party in green square. everyone wonders why isn't libya like egypt. where are the hundreds of thousands of protesters? i think the answer is pretty simple: fear. katie? >> couric: and, harry, he's been trying to hold on, but how tight is qaddafi's grip on power at this point? >> reporter: well, that's a good question and it certainly depends on where you are. if you're in the east, in benghazi, the rebels are in pretty good shape. if you're west of here, it certainly depends on what town you're in. as for tripoli, well, qaddafi seems to have pretty much everything under control. katie? >> couric: harry smith reporting from tripoli tonight. harry, thanks so much. now qaddafi insists he will fight to the end, but if he were to leave instead, where would he go? david martin has more on that.
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>> reporter: the navy has at least one submarine, along with two destroyers, all armed with cruise missiles, in the mediterranean in case, as president obama put it, the u.s. has to act potentially rapidly. the administration keeps telling qaddafi to leave but most qaddafi watchers doubt he will. >> i believe martyrdom is attractive to qaddafi, based on my personal reading of the man, and i don't see him going into exile. i don't know where he would go. zimbabwe? >> reporter: the african nation of zimbabwe is run by another international pariah, robert mugabe, who has sent mercenaries to libya in return for qaddafi's petrol dollars. >> i was almost rendered speechless with the idea of he and mugabe together. >> he's very unlikely to think that's a very safe haven for very long. >> reporter: henry schuler, who has worked in libya on and off for 50 years, points out that mugabe is in his late 80s.
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he won't be around much longer to protect qaddafi from those who would prevent him from telling all he knows about terrorist networks and the black market in nuclear technology. >> these people will be looking for him and they have less scruples than we do and they may very well take him out if he's in zimbabwe. >> reporter: so not only is qaddafi a pariah, he's a pariah who knows too much. katie? >> couric: david martin at the pentagon, david, thank you. meanwhile, the gunman at the tucson massacre is officially charged with murder. a federal grand jury indicted jared loughner today for the murders of a federal judge and a congressional aide. he was already charged with attempting to assassinate congresswoman gabrielle giffords. a photo surfaced today showing her just second before she and 18 others were shot. in all, six people died. and still ahead here on the "cbs evening news," cowboys who are boys. is bull riding too dangerous for children? and the drug wars.
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some of those weapons have been implicated in the death of a u.s. border patrol agent. >> reporter: while a.t.f. was allegedly allowing mexican drug cartels be armed with assault rifles from the u.s., a special border patrol team in arizona was fighting, in part, with beanbag guns last december 14. that's according to newly released court documents in the murder of border patrol agent brian terry, shown here in a training exercise. beanbag guns are often part of standard-issue weapons so agents can choose nonlethal force. but documents say terry's squad spotted a group of illegal immigrants, some with assault rifles. when they refused to drop their weapons, agents fired less-than- lethal beanbags. the bandits fired back with real bullets. agent terry was shot and killed. his partners returned fire with a rifle and pistol, but it was too late. the bandits' rifles, similar to these, traced back to a controversial a.t.f. program called "fast and furious."
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a.t.f. agent john dodson and others told cbs news they were assigned to watch as those exact rifles and thousands more guns were sold to suspected gunrunners and let on the street to try to build a big case. it's called letting guns walk. the department of justice and a.t.f. officials deny it. what do you say to that? >> i say i've been doing it every day since i got here. >> reporter: do you feel like there was a coverup or there is a coverup attempt being made on some level? >> yes, ma'am. i mean, ultimately, doesn't there have to be? >> reporter: today, agent terry's sister talked with us by phone about agent dodson speaking out. >> reporter: officials say three illegal immigrants arrested when terry was gunned down could not be connected to the crime and
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were returned to mexico. a fourth is being held but isn't charged in the murder. katie? >> couric: sharyl attkisson in washington. sharyl, thank you. in other news, a disaster today for nasa. its brand-new glory satellite crashed into the pacific. the launch had gone well, but the rocket soon malfunctioned and didn't have enough velocity to reach orbit. the satellite cost $424 million and was designed to study global warming. it's deja view for nasa. two years ago it lost another environmental satellite after a similar failure. and still ahead, from triumph to tragedy. the sudden death of a high school basketball star. [ male announcer ] those with frequent heartburn imagine a day when we can eat what we want and sleep soundly through the night.
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>> couric: a game-winning lay-up by a 16-year-old basketball player should have made the local sports pages in michigan. instead, it made national headlines because he collapsed on the court and later died. dean reynolds has the story of victory and sudden loss. >> reporter: you could see the determination in wes leonard's eyes last night as he made his dream come true. a triumphant moment for the 6'2" kid from fennville who nailed the winning shot in overtime. then, after a brief celebration on the court, it all suddenly and irrevocably stopped. the jubilation of the crowd-- including his parents-- giving way to concern and then horror as the high school junior collapsed, unresponsive. this afternoon, his coach recalled the agonizing moment.
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>> in the locker room someone was screaming for me and... and then... and just the scream of someone calling my name like that i... knew something was probably wrong. >> reporter: paramedics could not revive him and two hours later he was pronounced dead due to complications from an enlarged heart. it was an abnormality neither his coach, his family, nor anyone else in this town of 1,500 knew about. that lay-up wes leonard sank just hours ago gave his team a 20-0 record-- a perfect season that will long be remembered as tragic. everyone recalled a gifted two- sport athlete and more. >> wes leonard was the quintessential all-american kid: that small town boy, the quarterback, the basketball star. >> he was always, like, a happy person. like, he was never sad. just happy, happy, happy, happy, happy.
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>> reporter: his coach remembered something else about the boy he called his friend. >> he had a... just an unbelievable passion for what he was doing. like whether it was sports, his friendships. >> he was so healthy. it's... i don't know how it happened. >> reporter: tonight in this small town they mourn an athlete dying young. dean reynolds, cbs news, fennville, michigan. fennville, michigan. ce the fact that you're at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke. plavix helps protect people with acs against heart attack or stroke: people like you. it's one of the most researched prescription medicines. goes beyond what they do alone by helping to keep blood platelets from sticking and forming dangerous clots. plavix. protection against heart attack or stroke
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gas-x. pressure's off. next on cbs 5 the tiny insect behind a massive >> couric: we end tonight at the rodeo. not the houston rodeo, which began this week with $1.5 million in prize money at stake. we're talking about rodeos in which children ride bulls. there are 30 of them around the country this weekend, but are they too dangerous for kids? here's mark strassmann. >> ride 'em, cowboy. let's go! >> reporter: a thousand-pound bull charges into this rodeo in carthage, mississippi, as teenaged riders hang on and try to buck the odds of getting hurt >> i've been on some big ones. >> reporter: at 18, jacob welch is considered a seasoned rider. he knows the risks. so does his mother, laurie welch. >> it still makes me nervous. i'm his mama. >> reporter: every time?
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>> every time. >> reporter: how do you keep that under control? >> i pray a lot. >> reporter: any young bull rider has to learn when to hang on and when to let go. there's a reason why this is called the most dangerous eight seconds in sports. here's why. this is how the rider sees the bull's churning power. the goal: stay aboard for eight seconds. falling off is called wrecking. no one has studied the injury rate for kids riding bulls, but for adults, one study showed the rate of riding injuries is ten times higher than for football, 13 times higher than for hockey. and just last month a bull fatally kicked 16-year-old brooke coats in florida. she had been riding for a year and hoped to turn pro. in 2009, a 900-pound bull killed 12-year-old wayde haymar. his mother wasn't angry, she said her son died doing what he enjoyed most. >> it was a mess, one of them very freak accidents.
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the kid was in the wrong place at the wrong time. >> reporter: but young riders say if you have the skill, you can't beat the thrill. >> as long as i can walk and talk. >> reporter: you want to ride. >> i've always wanted to ride bulls. >> reporter: in the rodeo's family culture and atmosphere, parents of young bull riders do grasp the dangers. their aspiring riders often start young, riding sheep, then calves, and finally smaller bulls. >> hang on! >> reporter: at ten, lane huszar is this rodeo's youngest bull rider. >> if you're not nervous then there's something wrong with you. but if you're scared, then you don't need to do it because you're going to get hurt bad. >> reporter: joe named his son lane after lane frost, the bull riding legend killed in a 1989 rodeo. huszar says he's there to support his son's passion but has reminded lane of what's at stake. >> you've got to know the next time you get on could be the
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last time you ever breathe. >> reporter: and are you okay with that? is your wife okay with that? >> through a lot of prayer we are. >> reporter: while the rules on helmets vary, junior bull riders are required to wear mouth guards and safety vests. from there it's experience and luck. when the gate first opens... >> when the gate first opens you just try to do everything right so you don't get hurt. >> reporter: but before the gate opened, this 15-year-old screamed for help. inside the cramped bucking chute, the bull had pinned his foot against the iron railing. medics treated his bruises and sent him out to compete. he wrecked, too. and limped off to ride the bulls and the odds another day. >> he's walking. put an ice pack on it. >> reporter: mark strassmann, cbs news, carthage, mississippi. >> couric: that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thank you for watching. have a great weekend.
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good night. captioning sponsored by cbs you're watching cbs5 eyewitness news in high- definition. "this broadcast realtime captioned by becky lyon." earlier this week the videotape. tonight suggestion penned officers. why the fbi has joined the san francisco police misconduct investigation. gang warfare is shaking up this san francisco neighborhood putting police and the community on alert. the story coming up. the potentially life saving measures. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm dana king. several san francisco police officers suspended and the fbi looking into allegations


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